Podles, Masculinity, and the Latin Mass

Recently, Joseph Shaw of The Latin Mass society reviewed Leon Podles’ ‘The Feminization of Christianity’.  He quite predictably brushed aside many of Podles’ insightful (if not always completely correct) observations and put up the good old “TLM” as the cure all to the effeminization of  “Big Bad Novus Ordo”.  Same old, same old.  Honestly, as someone who was raised in this “TLM” thing from Day 1 (SSPX, Indie, Feeneyite Indies, FSSP, the occasional sedevacantist…. I’ve seen it all) and who did not see my first Pauline Mass until my teen years I find the endless harping of “The Latin Mass will save everything” party line to be at best childish naivete and at worst extreme dishonesty.

I am not surprised that his readers would be in utter denial about the “much more masculine 19th century Catholicism” (to which I chuckle under my breath) and weed out everything in the book that didn’t conform to what they wanted to hear (Shaw also brushes aside Hull’s ‘The Banished Heart’ based on the footnote about “the Bohemian lunatic fringe”, which is among my favorite quotes from that book).

So you have it, folks.  It is the “Traditional Latin Mass”, plaster statues, lace, Sacred Heart pictures, Our Lady of Fatima/Lourdes/LaSalette/Akita (pick however many you want, it’s really as much a buffet as the social of the Protestant megachurch), Eucharistic Adoration, and rosary crusades that will restore masculinity to the Church.  Not – I don’t know – returning to tradition and calling upon men to fight for Christ and his Bride again.

I could go into everything I find wrong in the Traditionalist approach to sexuality, devotion, and love but that will have to wait for another time.  Not here.  Not now.

If anyone denies that feminization took place between the Counter Reformation and the 20th Century, then I invite them to compare the following.  Play the music as you look at the image and attempt to contemplate on it.

Exhibit A, Old Western Catholicism

Exhibit B, 19th and early 20th Century Catholicism

I rest my case.


9 thoughts on “Podles, Masculinity, and the Latin Mass

  1. The effeminate aspects of Novus Ordo culture are the logical continuation of the declining TLM culture (sentimental music and devotions, widespread contraceptive use, liturgical “creativity,” etc.). That’s one of the reasons the Roman Rite church swallowed the N.O. whole without much complaint, and why it still can’t admit to itself that there’s a problem.

    Moving back to older forms of the Roman Rite is a step in the right direction for fixing this, but it’s not sufficient. There’s a great deal about our patrimony that we need to reclaim.


  2. I picked that Dies Irae because it was the only one I could find and I needed a hymn from the Middle Ages. Even if the style of chant is 19th century, I thoroughly love this tune. Things aren’t bad because they are from the 19th century; the 19th century is bad because most of the things from it were bad. It was the century that gave us Oscar Wilde, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Dvorak, Dickens, and Dumas; but it also gave use Kant, Freud, Karl Marx, and Nietzsche.

    I think Podles’ book made waves by going somewhere most people don’t dare to touch. Even if it’s imperfect, it made it’s mark by striking a nerve that needed to be struck. Those of us who have read it should take its points into consideration and try to find practical ways to “bring the men back” into our own local church. It doesn’t require us to drive out the churchladies, just find an outlet for the more masculine among us.


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